Glee — The great storm is over —
Four — have recovered the Land —
Forty — gone down together —
Into the boiling Sand —
Ring — for the Scant Salvation —
Toll — for the bonnie Souls —
Neighbor — and friend — and Bridegroom —
Spinning upon the Shoals —
How they will tell the Story —
When Winter shake the Door —
Till the Children urge —
But the Forty —
Did they — come back no more?
Then a softness — suffuse the Story —
And a silence — the Teller’s eye —
And the Children — no further question —
And only the Sea — reply —
what do they mean by ”Neighbor and friend and bridegroom,Spinning upon the shoals!”
The neighbour, friend, and bridegroom are examples of the people who were lost in the wreck. They represent the types of ordinary people lost at sea in this event. ‘Spinning upon the shoals’ indicates their final resting place at sea. The turbulent, stormy sea would have rolled them around – spinning them on the submerged banks (shoals).
I think that this poem not only tells the tale of a shipwreck, very common in her time, but of her life. While reading this poem you can feel the underlining sarcasm, and cynism. Dickinson is trying to tell of a lost love and her bitterness towards live afterwards. “Ring for the Scant Salvation” I think refers to her surviving after becoming heart-broken and yet becoming so downtrodden that it’s almost as though nothing of her survived…scant.